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The North Will Rise Again
July 2, 2003
By David Michael Rothschild

The old Southern concept of government is simple; use fear to rally people away from questioning their economic and social positions.

In 1860, an elite minority of rich, white slaveholders held their oligarchy of power together, by convincing the under employed and exploited mass of white citizens that their paramount concern should be the continuity of the moral hierarchy in their society, instead of the state of their lives. They were able to control the hunger of these masses by exploiting their fear of black people and the external threat of the North (regardless of its merits and potential benefits).

In 2003, an elite minority of rich, white stockholders hold their oligarchy of power together, by convincing the under employed and exploited mass of mainly white and some Latino citizens that their paramount concern should be the moral state of the society over the condition of their lives. They are able to control the hunger of these masses by exploiting their fear of a deteriorating morality in society, subtle racial concerns, and the external threat of terrorism.

In both cases, an elite group is able to exploit the innermost fears of security and morality to silence the people's misgivings about a society that has neglected its responsibility of economic opportunity and security, and individual liberty. The old Southern mindset is not solely about race, it is about power and economic advantage; race is merely one vehicle of fear that the powerful used to channel the anger of the oppressed away from their more direct concerns.

In 1965, exactly one hundred years after General Lee's surrender at Appomatax Courthouse, America had finally fulfilled the vision and the promise of the Civil War. We began a Great Society, where civil rights was to be the standard, we would provide equality of opportunity for all Americans, and we would help those who were too young, disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to help themselves. Yet, somehow we journeyed from that high point of domestic responsibility and understanding to this nadir of apathy and puritanical moral hypocrisy.

The victory of 1964, as so many total victories do, forced those who would oppose progress to reinvent completely their methods and their message (although their end game would remain the same). The weight of pure racism was no longer strong enough to block the desire of America's underclass from appreciating the assistance of the federal government to build up its institutions and provide for its citizens. In response, instead of misguiding the people behind their fear of African-Americans, the old Southern strategy built a larger coalition using fear of general moral decline and fear of the North (read: liberal do-gooders).

There are two complacent victims in this peaceful Southern takeover who we must target when we take back to the country: the Southern worker, and fiscally responsible Northerners. There are many good, God-fearing Southerners who send representatives to Congress because of their social proclamations, and never contemplate how they spend most of their time in Congress cutting social services, eliminating funding for schooling, and generally siding with big business and its continuing exploitation of the workers.

These "NASCAR Dads" are ideal Democratic voters. For generations, Southern voters demanded socially responsible government, especially in the impoverished and less industrial areas. We need to tap into that desire for economic opportunity: school funding, scholarships, and vocation training. We need to talk to them about healthcare, welfare, and other safety nets that the Republicans have been weakening. Simply, we need to help them understand that we all can be better off if we leave the preaching to ministers and the legislating to people who care about the daily, not necessarily spiritual, lives of their constituents.

That, of course, needs to be balanced with a general understanding that Democrats are not as morally deprived as the Republicans like to pin us. It is way too difficult to explain to the American people the extreme lack of morality that would allow a person to so blatantly lie to his countrymen about the consequences of legislation (read: tax bill), allow him to offer fabricated evidence to start a war (read: many of the memos involving Iraq's weapons of mass destruction), or simply have such a callous disregard for the welfare of those he swore to help (the way he can cynically let Medicaid benefits lapse and blames the states).

We are much more capable of defending our morality by illustrating the direct moral hypocrisy of our accusers. I wonder if Livingston or Gingrich ever turned over in bed and told his mistress how despicable it was that Clinton had affairs?

We carried the entire Northeast except New Hampshire (where Nader was the difference) in 2000 and I do not anticipate anything different in 2004. The midterm elections and the actions of Senators Snowe and Chafee seem to indicate that the voters in the Northeast are somewhat capable of discerning the difference between a popular President, and one who represents them.

Now is the time when we can destroy the Republican Party in the Northeast. The Republicans continue to run Southern conservatives in places like New Jersey (read Bret Shundler, a pro-life candidate for governor, funded by the national party and southern PACs and subsequently slaughtered in the general election). Yet, we do not do enough to force the voters who act and think like Democrats to avoid their affiliation with a national Republican party that has completely forsaken their socially liberal, fiscally responsible roots.

Except for the most high profile Senators, many people elected as Northern Republicans forget their constituents once they realize that the only path to power in the Republican Party is to forsake their principles. Governor Whitman of New Jersey, when she thought she was going to the Senate, softened her pro-choice stance, and then became an advocate for many of the disastrous environmental policies that she fought as governor, when she was EPA chairman. Just as the South was a one party system for 100 years, we can turn the Northeast into a one party system.

We are going to win back this country by reminding enough people that we represent what is good for them, while the Republicans are just exploiting them under a vale of fear. We need to make them angry with a party that has used their deepest fears, so that they can rob them of both their wealth and their liberty. Get angry, talk to your friends, volunteer, register, and register your neighbors.

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